Eskom granted interdict to stop illegal strike

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Load shedding has escalated to Stage 4, as Eskom faces illegal strike action at some of its power stations.
Load shedding has escalated to Stage 4, as Eskom faces illegal strike action at some of its power stations.
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  • Eskom has been granted an interdict to stop illegal strike action at nine of its power stations.
  • Given the illegal nature of the strike, employees can face disciplinary action and possibly dismissal, says Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberholzer.
  • The power utility had to escalate load shedding to Stage 4 on Friday, which is expected to continue for the weekend. 

Eskom has been granted an interdict to stop illegal strike action at nine of its power stations, Chief Operations Officer Jan Oberholzer confirmed on Friday.

Oberholzer and Eskom's acting head of generation Rhulani Mathebula provided an update on the status of the system after the power utility escalated load shedding to Stage 4 on Friday. Just under 18 000 MW are offline due to breakdowns and more than 2 000 MW are out due to planned maintenance.

Stage 4 load shedding will continue to be implemented this weekend between 05:00 and midnight. Oberholzer did not want to specify an outlook and explained that Eskom would update the public as the situation unfolds.

At the briefing, Oberholzer reiterated Eskom's previous warning that if the illegal strike persists or spreads, higher levels of load shedding would be warranted.

He said, however, that Eskom had on Friday morning obtained an interdict from the court to stop the strike.

Any workers who continue to participate in the unprotected strike will face a disciplinary process and Eskom will follow through with the required outcomes. This includes dismissal.

READ | Load shedding to hit Stage 4 all weekend after wage talks deadlock

The strike erupted after Eskom and trade unions reached a deadlock in wage negotiations on Tuesday. Eskom has declared a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

"We hope that we are going to have a discussion with trade unions to try settle this particular dispute next week some time," said Dr Thulane Ngele, general manager of people relations.

About 50 to 100 workers are striking at various stations, said Mathebula. More than 200 workers were intimidated and stopped from going to work, he added. So far, no acts of sabotage have been recorded.

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